Since 2014, YBE has offered a fresh perspective on holistic childbirth education, reaching families in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Japan and the U.S. Virgin Islands! In 2017, we expanded this groundbreaking curriculum to include Breastfeeding and Baby education, as well as the YBE Equip Advanced Doula Training and the YBE Doula Training and Certification program. After our first YBE Doula retreat in November of 2017, we've revamped our approach even more to make this curriculum as accessible as possible to a wider audience of hungry birth professionals!
Just as clothing has evolved from fig leaves to funky leggings, and people were once convinced the world was flat, opinions and trends regarding procreation shift as well. More recently we’ve seen trends that have made a way for informed consent and refusal, evidence-based medical care, promotion of the golden hour, and now: value-based health care promoting shared decision-making.
“The gap between the way many patients wish healthcare decisions could be made and the way these decisions are actually made is tremendous. According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Altarum Institute, nearly all patients expect to be in control of medical decisions. Only 7% of adult, nonelderly patients wanted their physicians to be in the lead role.2 Despite this clear preference, the same survey found that the vast majority of patients let the doctor take charge of care decisions nonetheless...
Childbirth educators currently have quite a challenging task. According to Listening to Mothers III, only "one-third (34%) of women reported taking childbirth education classes during their recent pregnancy' . This means there are many families who receive little to no preparation for childbearing and parenting, and of the parents who do take childbirth classes, not all of them truly grasp and retain the information that could be most helpful to them. As a doula and childbirth educator with a degree in education, I can attest to the fact that HOW people learn is every bit as important as WHAT they learn.
Typically, when people talk about what women and families want during the childbirth process, they usually mean the medical interventions involved in childbirth. I have found that focusing on these objectives alone are only part of the puzzle of helping women achieve a positive and satisfying childbirth experience. The part of the puzzle many have missed has to do with the intrinsic values a woman or a woman and her partner hold that guide most of the decisions in their lives. I believe the five things women want in childbirth are the key to helping us put the ownership of birth back in the hands of mothers and improve childbirth experiences. I have found that a values-based approach to birth planning helps bridge the gap and allows to families gain ownership (rather than control) in the birthing process...
Most often, people think about the things doulas do during the actual birth such as position changes, back rubs and verbal encouragement, but the informational support is glazed over as if this act of giving information is a simple one. The truth is this: anyone whose role involves transmitting information is at some level an educator. Therefore, every doula is inherently a childbirth educator whether she realizes it or not.
I believe that more women need to know about the full spectrum of maternal care when preparing for birth. Your journey to motherhood is not only about birth; it's about your story. Whatever comes, how you prepare will directly impact your entire life in big and small ways. The smartest thing you can do is prepare to be whole.
The problem in choices in childbirth is they don’t make much sense if you don’t understand them. What this means in the childbirth arena is that it’s hard to decide whether or not you want something if you don’t know the risks, benefits and if, when, why, where and how it might be beneficial to you. The use of forceps might sound like a medieval torture device until you know they could save your baby’s life without the turmoil of cesarean as major abdominal surgery. When considering what kind of childbirth education you will pursue, be sure you are able to gain information about your choices in a way you can understand and assimilate into your worldview.
There are as many opinions about childbirth as there are people on the planet. The truth is, there is no right and wrong in childbirth; there is only what's right for you! But just how exactly do you find out what's right for you when there are so many options? Wouldn't it be great if there was a one-size-fits-all childbirth education curriculum so you could be guaranteed that you would get just exactly what you need out of it or at least know which way to go to find what you do need? If you are a birth professional, wouldn't it be great if you had a tool that you could use with every client to help them get the results they need? Sound like unicorns and rainbows? It might not be as far from reality as you think!
Using Your Birth Experience helps me do exactly that for my clients. I present the options available to them and give them the tools they need to see how their personality and decision-making processes speak to their birth goals so that each parter can determine what is most important to them and why. This way there is no need to be combative, just clear in communication. There is no need to have an inflexible agenda, but instead an informed plan that can be adjusted when unexpected factors arise. This program allows me to help clients synthesize their goals and desires in a way that nothing else can, and all while clearly and succinctly presenting them with all the options available to them.
Sometimes, even doulas need a doula.
Strike that, frequently doulas need a doula.
This job, which is full of passion and fulfillmentis also hard, hard work. Not only are you constantly spending energy mentally attuning and connecting to your clients, but you’re spending the physical energy supporting them--whether it’s during labor performing the famous double hip squeezes or staying up all night with a fresh new baby while his parents get a welcomed evening of rest. Add on to all of that the fact that when you treat this work like a business, you’re also investing all of the time and energy of an entrepreneur...Enter Your Birth Experience...
So, what gives? How can a woman still have a positive birth experience even when things don't go as planned? How can I as a childbirth educator and doula in Tulsa, Oklahoma ensure my students and clients have the most satisfying experience possible, when I cannot guarantee outcome or mode (vaginal or cesarean) of delivery? Well, that's where my divorce comes in...
Stick with me. I promise it's worth it.
During pregnancy with my first child, I read everything I could get my hands on regarding pregnancy and childbirth. I took a twelve week natural childbirth class and befriended Doulas and other women who had home births. I practiced relaxation and made a plan with my then husband. I THOUGHT I would want to be touched, massaged, caressed, held and verbally encouraged throughout the process of labor and childbirth. So, naturally that is what I planned for. Little did I know, Nature had a different plan.
To be honest, I had no business having a space among the die hard Pearl Jam fans on the floor of the BOK Center, seeing as I'm most familiar with their album TEN, that was originally released in 1991 when I was ten years old. Even though I didn't know as much of their more recent tracks until the concert, I didn't need to be a member of the fan club to be captivated by Eddie Vedder and his band that night. What I didn't realize is that Eddie Vedder would teach me a few things about myself, about birth, and about business that night.